Offering Peace of Mind 

By Rebecca Boehm

Edited by Rachel Ramey

Sandy Mama, Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) Regional Director, shared just a few of the insights and perspectives she’s gained during her past nine years with the organization. For her, some of the most impactful services the Red Cross offers are ones that many aren’t familiar with.

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Joint Multinational Readiness Center commander presenting Sandy Mama an award at Hohenfels, Germany before she moved to Korea.

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“The Red Cross Reflects my Values”

By Diane Toomey

Edited by Nancy Waddell

For Tom Delaney, after 30 years as a school psychologist for the Lake Washington School District, retiring in 2011 included taking some of his well-earned leisure time to volunteer at the American Red Cross Serving King County, in our Northwest Region. He has made a choice to help people deal with emotional stress and trauma after disasters.

Our talk with Tom probed why he decided to stay in the service field as a Red Cross Volunteer in Disaster Cycle Services.

Tom Delaney Photo

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Red Cross Volunteers: A Family Tradition 

 

By Annie Sorich

Edited by Nancy Waddell

A passion for helping others was passed down to Brian Opitz from his parents, who have helped deliver the Red Cross mission as volunteers for over 20 years. By occasionally helping his parents out, Brian himself decided to become a volunteer and also inspired his wife Mary. Now, he is a board member with the American Red Cross serving Central and Southeastern Washington. In his Q&A he shares why people are so inspired to volunteer in his chapter.   Continue reading

A New Pair of Shoes

By Anna Kultin

“They stole my childhood.” Joseph uses these simple words to describe his experience as an Iraqi refugee. He was 2½-years-old when his family fled from Iraq to Kuwait back in 1991, during the First Gulf War, then to a refugee camp in Saudi Arabia, hoping for a better life. 

ICRC Annual Report 2013 - Jordan

October 30, 2013. Ruwaished, Jordan. Bustana assembly point. Twice a day, a local NGO distributes meals, paid for by the ICRC, in the assembly points and transit sites run by the Jordan Armed Forces. Refugees, the elderly and the very young among them, have walked long distances, mostly at night, to cross the border. Photo © ICRC/REVOL, Didier

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A Second Language Skill to Save Lives 

By Gabriel Martinez

Guadalupe “Lupe” Hernandes recounted a day last January when her volunteer work with Red Cross took a new turn.

She walked into the local Spanish-language radio station studio in Wenatchee. She didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t three women signing karaoke on live radio. The DJ then broke for a break and introduced Lupe. The next thing she knew, she was on-air, talking to the singers and a larger, but invisible audience about the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.  It was a day that begged the question: “How did I end up here?”

Lupe Hernandes

Lupe spends some time outside with her girls on a rare day off

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‘I don’t know where I would be without the Red Cross’

House Fire 2015

 

By Jasmine Turner

 A power of a heartfelt “thank you” was something I don’t believe I fully appreciated when I began my term as an AmeriCorps member. As a Disaster Cycle Services caseworker I was learning about what the Red Cross can do to help people who had become victims of house fires or flooding, I came to understand the process for delivering assistance: a call is made, questions are asked, answers are recorded, and a promise to call again is made and delivered empathy, the next day with just as much precision and care.

At first, I felt somewhat distanced, that I might not be connecting with the client. Not being on site, where the disaster happened, would I find the same kind of attachment to their case? But then I made a discovery. It came at the end of a call, one that seemed to be like any other, the client paused and said something that made my heart sing.

“Thank you,” he said, like many other clients do. But then he went on: “Without you, I don’t know where I would be. Without the Red Cross, I don’t think I could get through this. So thank you, so much.”

And with those words, the service than can often times seem distant and removed came close to home, and meant so much more. The time you take feels genuinely more worthwhile than you could ever have anticipated and the desire to be of service to those in need skyrockets. Even in a position at a desk in the office, searching on the computer or talking on the phone, looking up the case details for a client and not out on the scene with them physically seems to fall to the wayside.

This is how I’ve settled into my role as a caseworker, impacted in ways I never thought possible. Those thank you may be few and far between, but they reach deep and  depths have made me see my work in a whole new light. It made me realize that helping people overcome their roadblocks and get them to a better place—even if inadvertently—is what I wanted from my service with AmeriCorps. This is what I imagined coming into the Red Cross with fresh eyes and hopeful aspirations.

Looking Forward and Giving Back

Middle School Students Hold Comfort Kit Donation Drive

By Shelby Hockaday, AmeriCorps member serving the American Red Cross NW Region

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When looking for motivated young members who are eager to give back to our community, they aren’t hard to find at Washington Middle school. When Kirsten Hoover, Leadership teacher for grades 6-8, first reached out to us, her middle school class was interested in starting a coin drive to collect donations for the American Red Cross. Once the details were discussed, we discovered that a coin drive presented logistical challenges. It was suggested that the class start a donation drive for items to build comfort kits, and the students were all on board. Continue reading